The Ferrero Group has named Pieraldo Oldano as the new managing director of its UK and Ireland business.

Oldano will relocate to the UK after spending the past 27 years in various roles within the Ferrero Group across Europe. He has spent the past five years as brand president for Nutella in Soremartec, Ferrero Group’s research and development unit in Italy.

Prior to this, he was managing director for Ferrero Belgium and Netherlands from 1999 to 2005 and was previously sales development director and marketing manager for the French business.

He succeeds Frankfurt-born Christian Walter who joined as managing director in October 2009 and has been appointed to the role of president of pralines in Italy.

Walter will have overall responsibility for developing the category worldwide and will oversee the Ferrero Rocher boxed chocolate brand, sales of which slipped 4.1% to £40.2m last year in the UK [Nielsen 52w/e 3 September 2011].

Ferrero posted a global turnover of €7.3bn for the year to 31 August 2011, but accounted for just 3% of British chocolate confectionery sales.

However, the group hopes to double its share of the market by 2016. It has plans to launch several new products under its kids’ chocolate brand Kinder in the next few years and also expects to open domestic production facilities to boost the volumes of its hazelnut spread Nutella and other confectionery lines.

Ferrero kicked off a new TV campaign last November for its Ferrero Rocher brand, shifting the focus of its boxed chocolates from gifting to sharing.